The 500 Film Challenge

500 Film Challenge Updates, Year Two

So without further adieu, here’s a quick update on my new challenge. As much as I’d want to treat all my reviews as babies for these films, I do need to make sure that this time I’d make at least a quick review/film experience on these. There are a lucky few that may need my attention (and has been hanging around my Drafts list) but may not be found fully in this list yet.

In case you’d want to challenge yourself and join, you may simply email me at underthefiretree@gmail.com.

#1. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (1 January)

– I’m happy I missed this for the world.. If it weren’t for sheer curiosity, I wouldn’t watch it. I may have made a quick review for this.

#2. Dr. No (2 January)

– I had to watch this, knowing that this is where James Bond first premiered. I got frustrated at Ursula Andres’ hair. But it’s a good spy film to catch. Especially if you’re into anything vintage and vintage James Bond played by the immortal Sir Sean Connery.

#3. The Legend of Zorro (3 January)

– I was entertained. You can let the whole family watch this with you as a sequel to the first, aptly titled Mask of Zorro.

#4. The Truth About Cats and Dogs (6 January)

– I’m still finishing a full review on this. I am equally enthralled to find Janeane Garofalo in a lead role, especially with charming young Ben Chaplin. I was surprised to actually continually hate Uma Thurman and then accept and love her after watching this. I’ll post the review soon. I promise.

#5. Bandidas (6 January)

– a film by Norwegian directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, shot in a picturesque western featuring two equally beautiful and talented actors Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz along with the ever adorable Steve Zahn as their unexpected leading man. It’s a great comedy including witty antics and dialogue. Written and produced by Luc Besson.

Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz in Bandidas

#6. Rebel Without A Cause (6 January)

– a classic film of rebellion of the American youth set in the 1950s and is one of three films James Dean has ever starred in before his tragic death in 1955. I’ll be having a full review for this.

#7. New York, I Love You (7 January)

– several short films combined to culminate their love for one of the most exciting cities in the world. A sequel of sorts to Paris, Je’ taime and is the second film in the Cities of Love franchise. 11 short films each with a different director including Natalie Portman and Mira Nair. My favorite would have to be the one about method actors, and the little stint about strangers between Chris Cooper and Robin Wright.

#8. Reality Bites (7 January)

– you may die if you were born after 1994. Or if you haven’t seen this yet, you must see it before anything else happens to you.

#9. Senna (7 January)

– this british documentary film depicts the brief life of Brazilian 3 time motor-racing champion Ayrton Senna. With breathtaking clips including during his races through the cameras on the cars he drove.

#10. Like Crazy (8 January)

– a story about a long distance relationship between an exchange student from the UK played by Felicity Jones (Hysteria) and american student Anton Yelchin. Heartbreaking and disfunctional.

#11. Tatlong Taong Walang Diyos / Three Years Without God (11 January)

– Mario O’ Hara’s epic psychological drama during the Japanese occupation. Featuring performances from Christopher de Leon, Nora Aunor, and Bembol Rocco.

#12. Giant (9 January)

– haven’t finish this. yet

#13. Rock Star (10 January)

– classic Jennifer Aniston and Mark Wahlberg where he sings his heart out and fakes a british accent. He used to do a cover band for a popular rock and roll band and when he is suddenly discovered by the band’s lead guitarist. He is catapulted into fame for successfully belting out the same old songs, almost even better than the guy he replaced. But after realizing that he’s just a cover singer and not much of his talent can be taken into by the band, he walks out and hands his microphone to a fan and never returns back.

The 500 Film Challenge

#3 The Legend of Zorro

Catherine Zeta-Jones and Antonio Banderas

Directed by Martin Campbell

Starring Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta – Jones, Rufus Sewell

Screenplay by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman

 

03 January 2013

I was actually fifteen when this was released (2005) and had no idea a sequel was made. But thanks to reruns on cable I was able to watch it. I was eight years old when The Mask of Zorro but I still did not manage to watch it back then and now. My parents didn’t have time. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it now, but I did.

You can check the entire plot on wikipedia.org (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_Zorro).

Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones reprise their lead roles. Rufus Sewell plays the villain, Count Armand, who surprisingly pulls of a great mexican-infused accent. Adorable then-child star Adrian Alonso plays Joaquin De La Vega. It’s a great family friendly film. Banderas and Zeta-Jones look like they were made for each other in this film.

The 500 Film Challenge, The Bad Stuff

#1 Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines

1 January 2013

terminator3-07

I haven’t seen the first two films but I have an idea what they’re like thanks to the number of  YouTube spoofs and Pop culture references to Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton. And quite thankfully this film has a bit of help in reminding us (and Claire Danes’ character) of who the Connors are and the resistance. But watching this one alone doesn’t help much.

It’s definitely a macho film. So macho in fact that it has been  trying to fight the times and relate to it’s perspective new audiences. The original fans are still there, sure. I remember a friend a couple of years ago even telling me the Terminator’s (T-850 Arnold Schwarzenegger) most famous lines thinking I wasn’t born yet in 1997 (although I already was) and showing me more YouTube videos of him being mashed up along with Arnold’s other films.

Directed by Jonathan Mostow

Screenplay by John Brancato and Michael Ferris

Based on characters by James Cameron and Gale Ann Hurd

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Nick Stahl, Claire Danes, and Kristanna Loken

 

The film begins with an explanation of past events. John Connor (Stahl) has been living off-grid in Los Angeles. According to Wikipedia,

Following the events of Terminator 2: Judgment DayJohn Connor (Nick Stahl) has been living off-the-grid in Los Angeles. Although Judgment Day did not occur on August 29, 1997, the date given by the Terminator in the previous film, John does not believe that the prophesied war between humans and Skynet has been averted. Unable to locate John, Skynet sends a new model of Terminator, the T-X (Kristanna Loken), back in time to July 24, 2004 to kill his future lieutenants in the human Resistance. A more advanced model than previous Terminators, the T-X has an endoskeleton with built-in weaponry, a liquid metal exterior similar to the T-1000, and the ability to control other machines. The Resistance sends a reprogrammed T-850 model 101 Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) back in time to protect the T-X’s targets, including Kate Brewster(Claire Danes) and John.

So, with that valuable information at hand, everything now seems so clear to me as I recall the film. Claire Danes is an effective actress who plays out the panicked daughter of a Lieutenant responsible for the creation of Skynet. Like us she has no idea what is happening and asks most of the questions for me, I mean for us. More surprisingly, Schwarzenegger’s reprise as the reprogrammed Terminator fits well, and all the dead-pan humor you would expect from his previous versions still remains intact, if not, well mastered. The part where he says “Talk to the hand” would be one of my favorites, as well as the part where his system has been corrupted by the T-X in which he decides to shut down himself… His performance is really good.

Not bad for the intimidating T-X played by Kristanna Loken. As the Claire Danes’ character says it, “just die you bitch!” but she just doesn’t.

Although the plot has carefully played its cards in building up the suspense for this much-awaited box office hit of 2003, I’d have to watch the first two to make a clear judgment. If I’d ever be ask to give out stars, I’d give this a 2 out of five great stars.

 

The 500 Film Challenge, The Good Stuff, Wordpress Annual

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,600 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 13 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

For my last post for the last day of the year, I’d like to say (or write or type) a few words…

I’d like to thank you for viewing this post or for any of my posts. This year or the year before. Thank you for the honest and unspammable comments. I’d like to apologize for almost not keeping up with the posts. I will try to make ammends next year and attempt to keep up with the posts.

 

As you know by now, I love movies. I will continue writing about it, continue watching films, and continue understanding this art that has been handed down to us since the Lumiere brothers. In line with this, I will begin the new 500 film challenge which will start… in a few minutes. Will attempt to give an up to date review of my experience in each film. The challenge rules have been changed (by me, of course) and will post the new challenge tomorrow.

 

Well, I won’t spoil your new years eve by letting you stay on your seats. Go and enjoy this night. And thank you for staying tuned. Mwah!

 

 

Princess/Under The Fire Tree